*el mate

I took this picture back in September. She had been reaching and reaching for my mate, and so I gave her some knowing she'd never ask for it again. I didn't even capture the full repugnance on her face as she shook her head back and forth spewing green tea all over. It was pretty great :) [by the way, it wasn't hot] A couple months ago though she wanted to try again. I made sure it was a nasty, cold, bitter one and she took a sip. She twisted her face a little in surprise and then covered it up and said mmmmmm, more? I couldn't believe it. I let her try once or twice, making sure they were strong and sure to be foul-tasting. She'd give a start, pucker her lips, hide her disgust and keep at it! So no more tries for Vera. She loves to point it out though and will often devise her own little mate with a cup and a straw. Sometimes I let her drink water out of the gourd and it's just too cute - mi chiquita argentina :)



It was a beautiful, cool, fresh, windy, warm [and later cold and rainy] day. We made it to the park in the morning and our friends' fun backyard in the afternoon...

[.fun to be had indoors too of course.]



We've started the pre-spring warming trend around here, and it's just so so wonderful. I like seasons and all, but .. well .. Winter is my least favorite and I cannot wait for Spring!!! I've seen a few crocus shoots peeking out of the ground and will be sure to post pictures when my favorite --tulips-- appear. Sadly, we didn't get to take much advantage of the warm day today, but at least we took Bunny for his daily walk up and down the sidewalk:

..and unrelated, but this was pretty cute: tonight Vera brought a couple chairs over and sat everyone down to watch Mommy make dinner :)

*happy birthday 'Desta'!!

We can't believe you're 1! I started watching Stella when she was 6 months - it's hard to believe that much time has gone by! I wish you could see how excited Vera gets when she and her mom pull up in the driveway. Also, any time I say, "guess who's coming over??" she exclaims, "Des-ta!" She's really a sweet little thing - loving, cuddly and with the cutest little lisp :)



So last week we read a little book where the character stood on his head at one point. Afterwards, I asked Vera, "can you stand on your head?" and she immediately did it! I love to test and see what she's understanding - and am amazed still every time she does. Have I mentioned that watching a little one grow is about the most wonderful thing ever???


*I ♥ bloomers

I really do. In this day of dressing your baby like she's already a teenager - which I probably do sometimes, I guess I just love it as something so perfectly baby. I actually started a post back in June that I never got around to finishing, and took the above pictures today before I got an email saying I had won a pair of classic bloomers! Maybe you're familiar with the blogging world 'giveaways.'.. Yesterday I was reading through the new issue of the online SMALL magazine - one page had a bundle of companies offering giveaways to the 10th person to contact them. Lo and behold, I was the 10th! on the only one I responded to! I am floored: I don't think I've ever won anything!* A happy little surprise this Sunday :)


[ [wait... I am remembering winning The Simpsons Sing the Blues (my first cd!) at a KWNZ thing at Carson Jr. High. 5th grade?] ]


*funny stuff

...at least Vera thinks so..
{{volume up}}



These beautiful Chinese pajamas were a gift from Ben's parents when I was pregnant - I remember imagining my little dark-haired, dark-eyed daughter wearing them someday. I can tell you it took me a while to get used to the little blondie who surprised us all! When Ben's Granny first met Vera she kept exclaiming over the howlie boy :)

I love to think of all the different backgrounds that came together in little Vera - Ben's grandfather growing up in the Phillipines speaking a language I know nothing about, his Chinese Granny growing up as basically an indentured servant in Hawaii, another grandfather hopping the train from Oklahoma to California Steinbeck style, my dad's dad growing up on hop farms in Washington, one grandmother of mine adopted out to a family who needed help in their restaurant in Yerrington, Nevada. Imagine them meeting up back in the 40s - hey our descendents will have children together! It's truly amazing, really, where we all come from.

Later on, snuggled in bed - like a little princess in her fancy jammies.



While everyone else skied today, we hung out at home with Grandma Sheila. After a semi-disastrous walk to Coffee Garden [it was a beautiful day!!!] and a failed nap we played on the bed and made/shared some *soup* before meeting everyone else for dinner. a good time :)

this is the newest/latest game: make mommy sit on the stool and finish her soup!
and use her spoon!



I'm not feeling the words coming tonight [I've tried to start this like 3 times], but I've wanted to remember these little activities we've been doing. I've been reading a couple books and blogs on the Montessori method for early childhood and find it all so so interesting [and am so thankful to Jenny for introducing me to it all! Seriously, I'd be a dud of a mom without her. well not really, but kind of!]. I'd been anxious to have Vera try some of the little activites that encourage the child to focus and develop fine-motor skills, but you could tell that she's just not quite ready to sit for too long following a Mommy-directed activity [her tea set, pots+noodles+spoons, playing in her kitchen and with Bunny/Dollie are another story] :) These are a start...

We've had these wooden beads for a few months and she's now able to do it on her own - though she still likes to do it together sometimes :) If she's in the right mood, she'll do it a couple times over and over. It's been cute to see her slowly learn to do it all by herself.

Another little activity that I got from this blog post. She was into it when we had a mini-Montessori date at Sam+Amelia's [I'm thinking mainly because it was what Sam wanted to do], but gets impatient quickly and wants to do her own thing, ie. throw the pins across the room or shake the bottle, or try to stuff bunny's paws through the top. I took a video after we tried it the first time - she does 2 of my favorite things in this video: how she says "see??" to Bunny and her adorable little pleased-with-herself laugh.

She really loves this one - painting with water on a chalkboard. I'm going to be careful to keep it a special activity, so she won't lose interest. She likes to paint "dots" and will do a cat too, if I ask her to :)

[sorry, re-reading this I feel like it's all super-awkwardly written. I think I need to go to bed]

So far, these are the books I've read: Montessori from the Start, Raising an Amazing Child the Montessori Way and Mommy, Teach Me! I don't feel like searching out the links, do you mind?

The blogs on my googleReader: Chasing Cheerios and The Wonder Years.


*la holga

Do you have stacks of random pictures hanging around that you don't know what to do with? I have all these old Holga photos that I love, but just don't know where to put. They don't really fit in the middle of my family vacation albums and I can never remember to buy frames this size ... so I scanned them. I love my Holga - a boxy, cheap, plastic camera held together with tape. Basically it takes charming - ie. poor quality- pictures. The only thing is that both the film and the developing are pretty expensive [besides, now you can just go to picnik.com to make your pictures look old + crappy!] Anyway here's some of my favorites...

paris - 2004 : just before I got married. sipping tea and writing in my journal.

ben on our honeymoon : eating at a cafe from sleepless in seattle.
tulip, iris and dafodil bulbs my mom sent from the beds around our old house. i planted them at ben's and my first rental and wish i'd dug them up before we left :(

my adorable and very photogenic niece, olivia - now 8!

boone was the cutest puppy ever!!



...kind of... you might not be able to tell in pictures, but Vera has - what some people have told me - a reverse mullet. It's growing all long by her ears, but not in the back or on top. How cute is it to see her in mini pigtails?? I can imagine her traipsing off to kindergarten...


One of my favorite things - a nice, neat stack of packages and/or letters ready to go:

:especially nice because its preparation usually involves this:


It's pretty obvious that this blog is my project, so I've decided to make it officially so [notice the "posted by" - that's how I made it official :)]. Ben is my biggest fan anyway, and he has enough writing to do on his own:

I feel freer this way to post about whatever I want and not feel constricted to this being a "family blog." I like how my sister put it as being a moleskin of sorts - a place to write all those ideas, remember those things you see/do, etc. Pretty much nothing will change, just under my name now. So I can still fill the blog with pictures like these - because this is the kind of thing I see/do every day:


*el pan

I finally made some bread yesterday! Don't be too impressed - it was a bit of a disaster, though still edible. I'd forgotten that my mom's recipe is too big for my KitchenAid and it began overflowing up around the motor. I tried to keep it down with a spatula and probably could have broken my hand or something. I ended up having to knead it on the table - which is ok, but made it all a little more complicated with 2 little charges on my hands. I then got impatient with it's second rising and put it in the oven too soon. So it's a little heavy and dense, but still tasty - especially if you load it up with butter + honey. I did accidentally leave honey bear out on the counter and Vera saw him half full. She was very sad and confused, although she did seem to like my bread! Phew.

This is how the girls entertained themselves while I was busy with doughy hands:



I love to see what Vera ends up wearing by the end of the day [or sometimes as early as noon] with all the diaper changes, messy meals, etc. Also if there's shoes/boots, a hat and mittens around, they're on.